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This article was published on April 2, 2013

Rock Health alum Mango Health signs deal with Target and launches iOS app to help manage medications

Rock Health alum Mango Health signs deal with Target and launches iOS app to help manage medications Image by: John Moore
Ken Yeung
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Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

Mango Health has launched its iOS app in a move that it hopes will help motivate people to better manage and improve their own health. Through the use of gamification techniques, the company hopes to ensure proper adherence to a physician’s instructions by making it easier, safer, and fun. In collaboration with its launch, Mango Health has also signed a deal with Target to participate in the app’s reward program.

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A graduate of the Rock Health incubator, Mango Health is unveiling its offering after what it calls an “extensive pilot program”, which lasted 16 weeks. Company advisor Dr. Rahul C Deo from the UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco says: “Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t just involve exercise and nutrition. Understanding how medications and supplements interact with each other and improving adherence to doctor-prescribed treatment regimens can make a significant impact on patient outcomes and reduce overall costs to the U.S. healthcare system.”

Adherence is an issue

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, four out of five people in the US currently take a combination of nutritional supplements, prescription medicine, and over-the-counter drugs each week. What’s more, many will mix medications with food and other things that they shouldn’t and will suffer serious health consequences as a result. The company claims that 75 percent of US adults don’t take their medication as prescribed.

Making a game out of taking your medicine

That being said, Mango Health’s iOS app aims to use its game design principles to help solve this problem. Users can search to see if there will be any consequences as a result for mixing medications, supplements, or food while also setting the app to send them a reminder when a dose is needed. The idea is that when users stick to the schedule, virtual points are earned and can be accrued to receive real-world rewards.

Mango Health says that it has a database of about 8,000 US Food and Drug Administration approved medications and most major nutritional supplements — it expects this list to grow in the future. With this collection, the app is believed to be able to work with most prescriptions issued by physicians today.

The app also keeps track of what medicine and prescriptions have been taken, creating a useful personal health journal.

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One of the rewards that users can earn is a gift card to Target. Very much like you would expect from other games that offer similar prizes, when you reach a specific level, you could be eligible for, say, a $5 Target gift card. Other incentives include a donation to the ASPCA for your efforts or a gift card to the Gap retail store.

Ideal demographic

Mango Health’s app is now available in the Apple App store. During its 16 week pilot program, the company had over 100 participants trialing the service.

Oberfest says that during the pilot program, there were people as young as 24 and as old as their early 70s. While all ages seemed to test well, the company believes that its “sweet spot” is the 35-55 year old demographic as that is a group with lots of smartphone owners and an age group looking for solutions to improve their health and wellness.

Mango Health has raised $3.1 million in seed funding from First Round Capital, Floodgate, and Baseline Ventures. Other angel investors like Mark Pincus and Keith Rabois have also participated.

Mango Health for iOS

Photo credit: John Moore/Getty Images

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